Google 2-step verification has been around for over a year now yet I am surprised at how little promotion it receives and how few users actually know about it.
You need to have this enabled if you value your Google data -- Â Google mail, Google+, etc
Once enabled you add a second step to the sign in of your Google account. Â The first is the usual username (email address) and password; the second is a six digit number.
The number is not fixed like a pin, but is continually changing. Â Enter the number and you have access to your account.
So how does this protect me? Â The number changes every 10 seconds so has a very short shelf life. Â If someone is able to guess, or hack, your password they have another barrier to pass, however that barrier is ever-changing. Â Each time you login to your Google account you require a different number.
To receive the number you will need access to a device, such as your mobile phone. Â Google have the Authenticator App for Android, Blackberry or the iPhone. Â Fire up the App and a number is generated; use this during login.
If you do not have a smart phone Google will send you an SMS text message with your number. Â You can also generate a set of 10 numbers to be used in an emergency to access your account -- for example, if you misplace your phone. Â Store theseÂ numbersÂ in a safe place!!
Some applications may not support the two step process, such as the native email app on mostÂ mobileÂ phones or your PC. Â Again Google have a solution for this. Â You generate a one time only password for each application. Â It's not designed for you to remember but enter into your application and it will remember. Â If for any reason you feel the security of the device running the application has been compromised you would sign in to your Google Account and disable the one time password; this will disable access to your account from the application on the other device.
It sounds a little cumbersome but it is really a fabulous solution and only adds a few seconds to your login time.
Go do it now -- feel safe! Â It's free.